Joanna Shugar has a story to tell, and she’s telling it exclusively here.
She was born in England the product of a rape to an unwed teenager who was living in a group home.
She was taken two months into her life by British social services; her birth mother would not hear or see from her for decades.
She was quickly adopted by an American military couple- the Green’s- stationed in England, who moved her to Florida when she was three years old. At eight years old, she was removed from the Green’s because she was being physically abused.
From that point forward, she was moved from group home, to foster home, to abusive adoptive homes, trapped in a system she never chose to be a part of.
"I was stolen by cps from my crib after they failed to have me aborted to cover up the fact my birth mother was raped and they of course swept that under the rug. I was molested in care. I was adopted and severely abused," Joanna told me in an email.
Her mother’s rape
I recently spoke with Gwendoline Gates who is now living in Essex, England. She is Joanna’s birth mom. Joanna said she reached out to her recently through social media.
Gates told me she was thirteen and living in a group home when she was raped in 1989; she became pregnant, and she told me she was then threatened by her rapist.
Authorities moved her but then also pressured her to have an abortion, which she refused.
Joanna was born on May 5, 1990.
Gwen was next moved to the Beacon Lodge Home for Young Mothers.
Beacon Lodge was a home for unwed teenage mothers like Gwen.
More information on Beacon Lodge is here.
Gwen told me she was taking care of Joanna for about two months, when she went to feed her in the morning and Joanna was not in her crib.
She told me several social workers and a police officer then confronted her and told her that her daughter had been taken by social services.
She told me they then held a trial and determined she was unfit and took Joanna; she would not communicate with her again until recently.
Joanna told me she was then quickly adopted by an American military couple- the Green’s- Joanna told me, or at least that's what she was told.
Joanna moved to the US, she told me, when Mr. Green was transferred when she was three years old.
The Green’s settled in Florida.